How to Get Started with Homeschooling
You’ve decided to homeschool. Now what? First of all, know that you are not alone. As families face unprecedented challenges regarding health, safety, changing schedules, and new school models during this time of global pandemic, more families than ever are deciding to give homeschooling a try. The good news is that even the least experienced of families can have a wonderful start to the homeschool adventure thanks to the plethora of easily accessible resources available online.
More: How to Talk to Your Kids About the Upcoming School Year
If you have predetermined opinions about what homeschooling is like, know that the sky's the limit when it comes to what’s possible these days. Homeschooling has become a popular choice for families all across the country. It’s an educational model that is even being chosen by families with two working parents as the level of resources have made so much more possible for families of all kinds.
As you first consider how to get started with homeschooling, it is natural to feel overwhelmed. Fortunately, we have a step-by-step action guide and information about how Study.com can support your homeschooling to help you get started:
1. Research Homeschool Laws and Standards for Your State
The first step to getting started with homeschooling is to make sure you fully understand the homeschool laws for the state that you live in. Each state has its own homeschool laws for families to follow. Study.com provides all of these state laws in an easy to navigate format.
It’s important to check these laws before anything else as there may be specific requirements related to whether you are even able to homeschool or not, since the parent may need to have a high school diploma or college degree. It is also important to know exactly what steps you need to take to notify your local school district about your decision to homeschool.
2. Reflect Upon the Specific Needs of Your Homeschool Situation
Not all homeschool families are created equally, and all families have needs and considerations that should be reflected upon before choosing a specific way to get started with homeschooling. Do your children have special needs? If you do, it is important that you have quality resources and the information to help your children succeed and enjoy learning. Study.com offers online resources for parents of special needs to help them with their homeschooling journeys.
Will you be homeschooling more than one child and do the ages vary? Study.com also has all of the information you need on how to handle homeschooling children of different ages. It’s definitely possible to do this, and what you might see as a challenge initially can wind up being a true benefit as you all learn from each other and tackle curriculum from different perspectives in fun and new ways.
3. Decide on Your Homeschooling Method
There are so many different ways to handle homeschooling, and there’s no right or wrong way. You have to consider the learning styles of your children. Do your children learn best within the framework of practiced routines and familiar schedules? Or do they do best with a more freeform approach? Do you want to follow their interests or find ways to connect curriculum standards with things that interest them? How much time do you have as a teacher for curriculum preparation?
If you look forward to teaching your child but don’t have the bandwidth to spend hours on content creation as well, resources like Study.com’s Homeschool Curriculum provide you with full course coverage for all of your homeschool plans. This style would include unlimited courses in all subjects and classes like AP, CLEP, and remedial. It even covers goal tracking, progress reports, and the grading of assessments. This is an excellent option for homeschooling parents who have limited time or will be teaching coursework that really falls outside of their level of expertise.
If you are excited about content creation and planning when it comes to homeschool curriculum but would like to plan on having a pool of high-quality resources to supplement what you are already doing, you might consider a resource like Study.com’s Homeschool Basic Edition. This kind of plan would give you unlimited access to 27,000 engaging video lessons and transcripts covering all subjects and grade levels. This is a fantastic resource to supplement what you are already doing. It’s also very helpful if you follow a homeschool style based on following your children’s interests. No matter what your level of preparation or how your kids’ interests change, you will have access to the resources you need to conduct lessons that engage and inspire only a mouse click away.
4. Set Up a Homeschooling Space
It is helpful to create a dedicated homeschooling space in your home. Doing so can aid in organization and with helping you and your children feel focused on learning. Learning, of course, has no boundaries and can take place in nature, on field trips, and in other parts of the home, but a place to feel centered and to act as a home base for schooling can enhance the experience. It can also be a place to display curriculum themes, student work, and inspiring words and images.
5. Embrace Flexibility and Time for Adjustment
Homeschooling will be a new challenge, but so is the start to every school year regardless of the educational model. It takes time to get to know each other in new roles. You are not just parent and child; you are also now teacher and student. That said, your children have been learning from you throughout their entire lives, whether you have thought of yourself as a teacher or not. Keep an open mind, stay flexible, and always be ready to make adjustments as you all learn together about what works best for your family. Set realistic goals to start, and remember that plans can be fluid.
6. Find Support and Connect With Others
A common misconception about homeschooling is that it takes place without socialization and support. This could not be further from the truth. With resources like Study.com to support all of your curriculum needs and time-related challenges, you will never be left to figure things out on your own as the teacher.
In addition, there are so many ways your family can continue to have wonderful socialization experiences as homeschoolers. Be sure to connect with other homeschool families. There are many support groups to join and organizations that can help. Just like with anything new, the more support you have and the more connected you feel, the better your experience will be.
Visit Study.com to learn more about their homeschool and online curriculum.
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Charise Rohm Nulsen is a writer, social media influencer, activist, and perpetual volunteer.